Anthony Castrovince of mlb.com made 2021 predictions, which many of them in relation to the young and emerging Toronto Blue Jays.
Despite the struggles seen across the world in the year of 2020, the Toronto Blue Jays had quite a good start to the decade. They finished above .500 with a winning record of 32-28, made the playoffs and saw the emergence of Teoscar Hernandez.
Now, the calendar has flipped to 2021 in which many are hoping for a much better year. I for one am hoping that baseball will go back to a full 162 game schedule, although they very well may not. I am also hoping that the Blue Jays can play all their home games in Toronto, but as of now that is unknown. It will really depend on what cases are like in Ontario and even in the next while, and the status the Canada-US border.
As 2021 just started, even though the season is still in the distance, some have already made predictions for what could happen in the upcoming baseball year. One prediction article that caught my attention and that relates to the Blue Jays is one made by mlb.com writer Anthony Castrovince.
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His first prediction was that the Blue Jays will take the AL East division. This is something that he predicted back in November. He mentions how he believes that the offence hasn’t reached its potential yet, but does say they will need to add an impact bat and arm to make his predictions justifiable.
As the Blue Jays are currently constructed, they aren’t yet ready to take the division. The New York Yankees are still the better team despite the losses they suffered to free agency and even though the Tampa Bay Rays just traded away Blake Snell, they still have a good club as well.
As he said though, the Blue Jays need to add an impact bat and arm to take the division. The Jays have been linked to George Springer and DJ LeMahieu, while on the pitching front they just recently talked to Trevor Bauer. If any of those guys join the Blue Jays, it will be a huge improvement to the team and prospects of taking the division, although one big player may not be able to get them over the hump just yet.
Another prediction he made in relation to the Blue Jays is that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will be the AL MVP. He says how Vladdy will have a huge season offensively and propel the Blue Jays to a division title.
So far to date, in 183 career major league games, Vladdy has slashed .269/.336/.442 with an OPS of .778, 24 HR, 102 RBI and 184 hits. Prior to his major league debut, Guerrero Jr was the most hyped up prospect in recent memory who had big expectations, especially with him being the first player to receive a hitting grade of 80 on the 20-80 scale by MLB Pipeline. He hasn’t exactly lived up to those big expectations yet, but he’s been solid. With him looking in much better shape, I do expect Vladdy to have a breakout year where he’ll put up career best numbers for now, but him getting the MVP award in his age 22 season is a bit of a long shot.
His third Blue Jays prediction is that Charlie Montoyo will win AL Manager of the Year. Castrovince says how a surprise division winner leads to that team’s manager taking home the award in their league.
I can see this happening. Montoyo was a finalist from the 2020 season, finishing third for Manager of the Year award, and he even had a compelling case to win it. The Blue Jays may not necessarily need to win the division for him to get it, but they would definitely need to make the playoffs for the second straight year.
One prediction that he made that got my eyes popping was that he has the Blue Jays going to the World Series. He thinks the Yankees are beatable, the Rays won’t be able to manage their pitching like they did in a 60 game schedule, the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics have lost too many players, the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox are unproven playoff teams while Cleveland is moving their team in the wrong direction.
The Yankees are for sure beatable, but they’re a good team. The Rays are so deep in pitching and have a good manager in Kevin Cash that he’ll be able to handle his pitching staff and anything that comes their way just fine. The Astros and Athletics have lost key players in which the Jays may very well be a better team than both. While the Twins haven’t won a playoff game since 2004, the White Sox are a team on the rise that are probably a bit farther ahead than the Jays are. Cleveland seems like they’re taking a step back every year, as they can’t afford high cost players and are looking to trade Francisco Lindor before the season starts.
The Jays look like they’re set to be a dynasty in the making and are on the verge of becoming a great team, but I wouldn’t say they’re good enough to make the World Series yet. Give it another year or two and I would agree with this prediction.
As he has the Blue Jays going to the World Series, it only makes sense to finish off with a prediction of how he has the biggest round in baseball going down. While he doesn’t directly say who’s going to win, he mentions how there’s been three instances where a team has hosted the All-Star game and won the World Series in the same year, and the 2021 All-star Game (assuming it takes place) is in Atlanta.
The Atlanta Braves are a great team that had their own lengthy rebuild, but have made it to the postseason the past three years. Their core of Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna Jr. Ozzie Albies and a young pitching staff is something that Braves fans should be proud of, as this team is set to go to great lengths. If the 1992 World Series rematch were set to take place in 2021, I would probably bet on the Braves winning due to their playoff experience, but it would be a fun series to watch.
These are just predictions and there is absolutely zero guarantee that any of these happen, but it’s fun to read, dive into and speculate.